The Recording Process ~ Part 3

Apart from using a smartphone as a mic and using an actual mic, there are other ways to gather audio. We are all, or many of us anyway, are aware of the joys of Zoom meetings. I’d been using Zoom for a few years before the lockdowns. I was surprised that so few people were aware of this tool. It is far superior to Skype for recording audio. Microsoft Teams I find sits between the two.

There are some steps you need to take when using Zoom. The general things about reflecting sound, hard surfaces and so on still hold. The other thing to remember is the settings. There’s a pic over on the website, link in the show notes, showing the boxes you need to click. Once you’ve opened the “preferences” link, click on the “Recording” option. This is really important, check the box next to: “Record a separate audio file for each participant”

What this allows is much easier editing. It allows the interview to flow more like a conversation and if anyone talks over another person, the two audio files allow the editor to delete part of one file or move the audio apart. If the mentioned box is not checked, you only get one file and that’s much harder to edit. 

If the conversation is between two people, this was traditionally known as recording a double ender. The file from the other device had to be downloaded and forwarded to me. Zoom does this automatically, hardly any delay. The quality of the audio can vary from each end as the settings are different. Again with two files, some post production magic, read tricks of the trade, can be applied to the dirtier of the files.

To give you some idea of the quality of the Zoom process, I’ve recorded this in my unusual way and directly into Zoom. I’ll now move over to the Zoom audio. See if you can tell the difference?

By way of a summary, we can conduct in person interviews with our smartphones, possibly enhanced with a shotgun mic, or not. We can use an outside broadcasting microphone or we can use remote systems like Zoom. Gathering the audio is almost the easiest part of the game but it needs to be done right. That comes with practice and attention to detail.

I’m on Day 3 of isolation following a positive diagnosis for that virus, so if this is a little croakey, I’ll re-record once all the symptoms are gone.

If you’re ready to start telling your service’s story you can contact me on Linkedin or through the email in the show notes.


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